Town of Ulster Firing Range: A uncontrolled public nuisance?

Law Enforcement must practice the correct, safe and accurate use of their firearms; that's not in dispute. 
What is in question is two-fold:
  1. Who should use the Town of Ulster Firing Range? Again, no argument that the Town of Ulster Public Safety officers reasonably should, and perhaps also the officers of the City of Kingston and maybe Ulster County.  But then there's NY state, the National Guard, the FBI and many local municipal and county organization, to say nothing of the apparent and repeated practice of a string of unidentified and possibly unaffiliated individuals
  2. Shouldn't practice of firearms, which are deadly force, be carefully controlled and monitored since they represent a liabilty to the town.and done with respect to the local property owners? 

Firing Range Usage:

The Importance of the Firing Range to the Town of Ulster Police

The Town Police see the Range and its use is a source of pride, power and influence in Hudson Valley law enforcement community.  Twenty years ago, the Range was used sparingly, presumably for Town officers only; its use has steadily grown with no limit in sight  The Town Police seek to extend its use, improve its facility and get other law enforcement to buy into these efforts. They indirectly resist any control of it.  Complaints of the noise have been met with surly indifference and no lasting effect. Their oversight of the range is a classic case of conflict of interest, like setting kids to guard a coookie jar.

The Liability of the Firing Range

Should something go awry at the Range due to lack of oversight and control, the Town could be substantially liable

Ideal use of the Firing Range would be:

  1. Restricting its use to immediately local law enforcement 
  2. Restricting its use to organized and controlled group practice, to aggregate and concentrate "noise periods", thereby reducing them
  3. Involving  property owners within earshot of the range
  4. Include maintaining/publishing a list/schedule of the groups using it, ideally available in advance on the web and from the Polic Dispatch line.
  5. Controlling the range and responding promptly and proactively to indsicriminate, unscheduled and individual use.
  6. Range control and oversight by non-police personnel, who would meet with and respond to concerned townspeople. 
  7. The range control person should be reachable 24x7 and have the power and responsibility to immediately shutdown the range in the case of unscheduled and indiscriminate use. 
  8. The gate to the facility should be locked when not in scheduled use; when unlocked, the Town Police Dispatch should be able to supply use information .
  9. Restricting its use to a limited number of days per month and a limited weekend and night use.

A final question:

Shouldn't the local property owners be able to plan a party to avoid having what sounds like a Baghdad firefight in the background?  Here's a recording of what it sounds like....except that it goes on for hours intermittently, sometimes for the whole day. How would you feel if a sound system was set up at the end of your drive playing the noise that property owners near the Firing Range hear all the time?  Of course, you would call the police and, in this case, they'd do something about it

Interim resolution in 2012

This page was originally written in 2011 or so and the following agreement (in PDF format) was reached with the Town Of Ulster Police in 2012.

Since then....

  The fulfillment of the terms of the above letter have gradually degraded.  There is no longer an online published schedule of use or point of contact, the scheduled hours of use are exceeded, and attempts to determine proper usage are brushed off.  Response to any and all of this is way down the priority list of the Town of Ulster Police.
Further, it appears that the site will be expanded to serve for the fire-fighting training of all of Ulster County.  While such training at the existing facility for the Town of Ulster fire-fighters has never been a nuisance, I'm concerned that its expansion might also mean an expansion of the firing range.  I'm incensed that, in Town Supervisor proposing the site for that use, no one ever directly contacted the residents of Lower Ulster Landing Road or asked for their input and involvement.  Nice to know that our peace and quiet and the value of our property is so unimportant to Quigley.  Perhaps he could half the taxes of everyone within earshot of the facility?